Letters to the Editor

Time for teachers to avoid psychological labelling

Editor, The News:

Re: Teachers taking strike vote (The News, Feb. 26).

Here we go again. Teachers are already taking a strike vote when it’s my understanding that they haven’t even formulated a demand yet.

People who claim to be all about the kids are taking action that could negatively impact those same kids. Their insistence that two or three children should be removed from each class to meet some arbitrary class size formula is patently ridiculous and a transparent aim to ensure more teachers are hired. They are totally oblivious to the result for school boards and, ultimately, taxpayers.

The explosion in the numbers of so-called special needs students has been a huge contributor to this situation. Every child who doesn’t fit the very narrowly-defined mold of normalcy is deemed to require special attention. If this province really does have such a huge increase in kids with a psychological imbalance, then the problem stretches way beyond the education system. What is causing it? Is it the environment, electronic overload, alien mind control?

A child in my grandson’s class was recently diagnosed with authority opposition disorder. What the heck is that? Seems he doesn’t like being told what to do.

Teachers and parents are supposed to negotiate with this nine-year-old so that he feels part of the decision-making and will therefore cooperate better. What rubbish.

What happens when this child and the myriad others with similar diagnoses go out into the real world? Can you envision him in a job situation negotiating whether or not he should follow the rules. He’d be out of job faster than you can say special needs.

Obviously, there are some children who require extra care – the developmentally or physically disabled, those with autism or dyslexia. However, I believe that most children labelled as special needs are simply the unfortunate results of over-indulgent parents, inattentive day care, teachers with neither the time nor the inclination to deal with their needs and a psychological assessment process that must justify its existence.

Kids need individual attention, they need to feel valued and appreciated, and many don’t have the kind of lives that satisfy this need.

Diagnosis gives them a temporary fix, a spurious feeling of importance. But this does not serve them well in the real world.

Isn’t it time for parents and teachers alike to avoid the psychological labelling of children as a justification for difficult behaviour instead of looking for the underlying problems that cause such behaviour?

Anne Rostvig

Maple Ridge

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